A window on our local country houses

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire

On the last day of April, I took myself for a short walk, from country house to country house near me. They’re all called Sleningford-something-or-other – Old Hall, Hall, Grange – in memory of the village of the same name that was ravaged by marauding Scots in the Middle Ages, never to be seen again. Though they had older antecedents, all these buildings are from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and they all mark pleasant pauses in our walking routines. Here’s the gatehouse to the first, Sleningford Old Hall, its window enabling the gatehouse keeper to keep his eye on all the comings and goings into the estate. Well, the last actually. I’m showing my last photo first, and working back towards home.

The gatehouse to Sleningford Old Hall

Only the upstairs windows of the house itself were visible over the high wall which maintains the owners’ privacy.

A mile or so beforehand, I’d already passed Sleningford Park and Hall. You can see the house set in its parkland in the feature photo. The conservatory has glass enough, and the gatehouse too has windows pointing in every direction to help the gatekeeper do his job.

I’d started from home of course, less than a mile before that. Not that we live in the house you see here. But we’re lucky enough to live in its grounds, in a rather simpler dwelling, which has its own long history – that’s for another day.

This is a multi-tasking post. It responds to Brian-at-Bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge; to Ludwig’s Monday Window; and to Jo’s Monday Walk.

And Last on the Card is … March’s Virtual Dog

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire, Walking

I have shamelessly engineered the last photo on my phone for February to be the one you see below. I wanted to showcase my Virtual Dog for March. Some of you may remember that to make sure I go out walking each and every day, I’m making sure of having a Virtual Dog who needs to be exercised. It’s a big ask of these dogs, so I think a month is enough.

In January, I had my friend Barbara’s lovely dog Dilys. In February, I (virtually) nicked the dog from Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. And this photo here, the last on my phone, is to be my Virtual Dog for March. I think she could be a bit of a handful, a bit keen on running after rabbits, but we’ll see.

Going out every day with Virtual Dog is definitely working for me. I’m out every single day, whatever the weather, and I now have 252.8 miles (406.84 km) under my belt this year. But I have nine more months after this to fill. I invite applications from interested dog-owners. Your dog will not have to leave your side, whether you live in England, America or Australia, but will join me daily for walks through the Yorkshire countryside, often in woodland, often by the river. There’ll be lots of chances to be off the lead, but especially during lambing season. will have to stay closely to heel across farmland. The only reward, apart from the walks themselves, will be the chance for your dog to feature on this blog.

Last on the Card. Here you are Brian. I know you’ve had a dig at those of us who don’t like to include our less-than-wonderful last images. But to misquote Bill Shankly: ‘Some people think that the last photo is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that.’

Fire Up your Imagination with Ice?

Blogging challenges

A frosty walk on New Year’s Eve with my Virtual Dog had me taking snapshots of the icy puddles I came across. This was the last one. Here be monsters, ghosts, puppets, all kinds of flights of fancy. What can your imagination come up with as you peer at this ghastly frozen face?

And as it was my last shot of the month, I’ll pop it in for Brian at Bushboy’s World Last on the Card event. I’ve had to make it square for this month’s Square Up challenge, but apart from that, this icy image is just as it appeared, winking up at me from a frigid, frosted muddy path.

And there’s always Six Word Saturday, too …